July 27, 2012

Welcome, new fathers, to DADS 101

by Staff Sgt. Jason Colbert
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

When parents get the news they are having a baby, most are overjoyed. Soon after, a slew of meetings and classes start for the soon-to-be parents. But let’s face it. Most of these classes are designed to give information to the mother — child bearing, Lamaze, nursing, etc. There are not many programs available to address the soon-to-be father and his needs. The 56th Medical Operation Squadron created a class to do just that.

Dubbed DADS 101, the class is designed to teach first-time fathers what they will need to know to become effective parents and to help men be more comfortable in their new role as fathers. Topics include simple tasks like changing and carrying a baby, to more difficult tasks like setting up the nursery and what to expect during the delivery. Other topics include things many fathers don’t think of, including “pregnancy brain,” and post-pregnancy intimacy.

“We discuss the importance of the role of the dad in a child’s life,” said Staff Sgt. Henry Alas, DADS 101 instructor. “It gives new dads a sense of security.”

All the information contained in the curriculum is tailored from a man’s perspective and is designed to address his concerns as an expectant father. Teachers of the class use anecdotal accounts to aid learning. The instructors are fathers who have already gone through the process and have made many of the mistakes talked about in the class, which ensures students the teachers are not just making it up or reading from a book. In fact many of the lessons and topics discussed are not in the curriculum book.

“A father’s involvement in raising his child is a major influence in the child’s development,” said Sharon Kozak, 56th MDOS and DADS-101 co-facilitator. “This program allows dads the chance to ask questions about labor and delivery, crying, shaken baby syndrome, the adjustment to becoming a new parent, address fears. The class also addresses the support new dads need to give their partners and allows dads to talk about their own anxieties.”

To further reinforce a sense of security, instructors teach new fathers how to handle specific stresses of parenthood. Every class requires the new fathers to take a section on shaken baby syndrome. The section covers the cause, effects and preventive measures. Each father receives a certificate when they complete the section.

“I believe it’s an excellent program,” Alas said. “One can only benefit from the information we provide. To this day I still have students stop me to thank me for the class.”

For more information on DADS 101 or to sign up, call Kozak at (623) 856-7579.

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